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Google Play for iOS

Google Play for iOS Featured Image

updated by Chand Bellur
March 20, 2023 at 7:59 p.m. PST
  • Google Play is an online market for apps, movies, TV shows, music, and more.
  • Although iOS users can’t install apps from Google Play, movies, TV shows, and other non-executable content can be enjoyed on your Apple devices.
  • Sometimes movies, music, and TV shows are less expensive on Google Play.
  • Google discontinued its Google Play iOS app, replacing it with Google TV and adding the Google Play Books & Audiobooks app.

Google Play iOS App is Now Google TV

Once upon a time, there was an app called Google Play in Apple’s App Store. While many expected to download apps for their iPhones from the Google Play Store, this isn’t possible. Google Play sells Android apps, not iOS (iPhone) apps.

The original Google Play iOS app aimed to allow iPhone, iPad, and Mac users to enjoy Google content purchases on Apple devices. Being a large tech company, Google can sell content outside of the App Store, with its app being free of charge. Although they rebranded the app as Google TV, it’s essentially a way for iPhone users to enjoy their Google content purchases.

How to Buy/Rent a Movie or TV Show on Google Play and Watch It on Your iPhone

You’re probably here because you want to watch a TV show or movie you purchased on Google Play on your iPhone. You may prefer purchasing content from Google’s ecosystem. Also, if you recently switched from Android to iOS (iPhone), you may have many TV shows and movies in your Google Play library. You definitely want to avoid repurchasing them now that you’re using an iPhone.

The good news is you won’t need to buy your TV shows and movies again. You can easily play them on your iPhone if you purchased them on Google Play. Let’s look at how to do this.

First, let’s cover how to purchase a movie rental from the Google Play website. Since Google doesn’t sell content directly within its Google TV iOS app, you’ll need to visit the Google Play website to do this.

Here are step-by-step instructions for renting a movie on Google Play. I assume you’re already signed in to a Google account that you’ve created. In this example, we’re using a computer’s web browser to complete the transaction; however, you can also use your iPhone.

  1. Open a web browser and navigate to the Google Play Store ( The Google Play home screen appears.
  2. Tap or click on the Movies & TV tab at the top. The Movies & TV screen appears.
  3. Find a movie you’d like to rent and click or tap on the cover. The movie details screen appears.
  4. Click or tap on the Rent button. A screen of rental options appears.
  5. Tap or click on the video quality and price option of your rental.
  6. Complete the payment transaction.

That’s it. Your rental is complete. Let’s look at accessing it using your iPhone’s Google TV iOS app. First, you’ll need to install the Google TV iOS app on your iPhone if it’s not already installed. Let’s take a quick look at how to do this:

  1. Open the App Store on your iPhone. The App Store home screen appears.
  2. Tap on the Search tab at the bottom of the screen. The Search screen appears.
  3. Type “Google TV” in the search field, then press the “Search” button. A list of search results appears.
  4. Since Apple is very poor with search technology, you might not see Google TV as the top search result, even though it’s a perfect match. Scroll down until you see Google TV, then click “Get” to install the app. The “Get” button turns into a spinning circle.
  5. Authenticate with the App Store to complete your purchase. If you have a newer iPhone, this involves clicking the side button twice and authenticating with Face ID. You may need to scan your fingerprint or enter a passcode if you own an older iPhone. You’ll see an “Open” button next to the Google TV app when completed. Tap on it to open the app.

Now that we’ve installed the Google TV app and opened it, let’s look at how to watch the movie you just rented. If you just installed Google TV or haven’t signed in for a while, you’ll be prompted to do so. Let’s start with opening the Google TV app and going through the steps to watch a movie rental:

  1. Launch the Google TV app. The Google TV app appears with a sign-in button at the bottom.
  2. Tap the sign-in button. A message informs you that Google TV wants to use to sign in.
  3. Tap on Continue. An screen appears, asking you to enter your Google account user name. This is typically your gmail email address, with or without the “” suffix.
  4. Type in either your google account or your entire gmail address. Either one will work. Tap Next when you’re done. The password authentication screen appears.
  5. Enter your Google account’s password and tap Next. You’ll see the Google TV home screen if the authentication process is successful.
  6. Tap Continue. The “Select Your Services” screen appears.
  7. Google TV is a video portal. Every service on this screen integrates with Google TV. This step is optional if you watch most of your videos with the Apple TV app. It has nothing to do with enjoying the movie you just rented. If you prefer the Google TV app to Apple TV, switch on any services you wish to enjoy through Google’s video portal.
  8. When you’re finished selecting your video services, tap “Done.” A message appears asking if Google can scan your Wi-Fi network to look for Cast-enabled devices. You may want to do this if you use Chromecast or have a compatible TV. If you simply want to watch your rented movie on your iPhone, skip this step.
  9. Tap on the Your Stuff tab at the bottom. The Your Stuff screen appears with your rented movie.
  10. Tap on your rented movie and start playback. The Google TV app will inform you of how much time you have to watch the rental before it expires.

That’s it. Now you have options. You don’t have to rent or purchase movies just from Apple. Sometimes movies are less expensive on Google Play, Amazon Prime, or other services.

You may prefer one big tech corporation over another. After all, we all know Google does no evil. They say so. It must be true. So when you buy or rent movies from Google Play, you’re creating a better world for all of us.

Google Play Books & Audiobooks

Some people enjoy books more than TV shows and movies. For others, the only thing better than reading a book is listening to one. If this sounds like you, Google has you covered.

The Google Play Books & Audiobooks app is another way to enjoy Google content without Apple earning a dime. Like Google TV, the Google Play Books & Audiobooks app won’t let you purchase anything within the app.

This is Google’s way of evading the 15% to 30% fee Apple earns from every in-app purchase. Since Google is a massive company with many lawyers, they can effectively circumvent Apple’s fees, unlike Epic Games or smaller enterprises, which get banned from the App Store.

You still can’t play Fortnite on an iPhone because of a legal battle over in-app purchasing fees. Epic Games was once the darling of Apple’s WWDC events, with live demos at the keynotes. Now you can’t play any of their games on iOS because they tried to do what Google is doing now.

The irony of Google’s over-the-top sales is that the Google Play store also charges a fee for in-app purchases. Apple Music, which is distributed on the Google Play store for Android devices, allows users to subscribe within the app. Apple pays Google’s fees, but not the other way around. Apple is taking the high road here. But corporations only care about profit, not hypocrisy.

I can only assume Apple just doesn’t care because few iOS users buy content from Google. The Android users who switch to iPhone seem to start purchasing content within the Apple ecosystem, with the Google TV iOS app serving their already-purchased TV shows and movies.

The Google Play Books & Audiobooks app works much like Google TV. First, you go to the Google Play website to purchase e-books and audiobooks. After purchasing, launch the Google Play Books & Audiobooks app to access your reading material.

One of the best things about Google Play Books & Audiobooks is its many free options. Many classics, such as The Great Gatsby, are available for free. (Where were you when I was in high school?!?) I also like that you don’t need to subscribe to anything to buy an audiobook or listen to free titles. I think it’s great that people can listen to classic literature for free!

I’m an Audible fan, but I’m not fond of their process and some of their business rules. One must subscribe to get a credit or two once a month. Most of the books included in the subscription aren’t worth reading. I’d have to wait to buy a new book with a monthly-accrued credit. The problem is that some audiobooks are so long that you can’t finish them in a month. I ended up accumulating an extensive library of Audible audiobooks, terminating the service for now. Unfortunately, you lose your earned credits when you cancel, which is unfair, but you can still access your library.

With Google Play’s audiobooks, you don’t have to subscribe to anything. They have everything Audible offers and more.

My concern is that Google will abandon the app, stranding users with nothing. Unfortunately, Google has a history of quickly abandoning apps, often leaving users in the lurch. For this reason, I recommend Audible over Google Play Books & Audiobooks, at least for building a library. If you want free audiobooks, the Google Play Books & Audiobooks iOS app is a slam dunk.

Looking at Google’s history, it’s rife with examples of apps that come and go. I could see building a library of audiobooks that ends up being inaccessible someday as Google once again reneges on yet another service.

Look at how many versions of Google TV there have been. Google TV, Android TV, and now Google TV again. TV is a massive industry, much larger than audiobooks, yet Google’s strategy is inconsistent due to poor processes. While a company like Apple does a lot of research and planning for a product, Google seems just to copy whatever’s out there, and if it isn’t successful, they kill it off.

Google cancels more products and services than any company I know of. It’s a shame because they wouldn’t make so many mistakes if they had a rational process where product requirements were correctly determined and clearly defined.

When you see a company like Google cancel so many products and services, it’s clear its product development process is severely flawed. It may have to do with hiring practices, where the company prefers Stanford graduates of a specific background. When you hire narcissistic employees, they often short-circuit processes because they believe they know better. The result is a deeply flawed product that costs billions to produce, yet no one wants to use it. Google+ anyone?


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